5 Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor

5 Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor

Know how to read the signs that your child might need academic help.

By Judy Koutsky

Poor grades are the clearest indication that your child might need some extra help in school. Other times it might be more difficult to discern -- maybe his behavior has changed or he doesn’t seem focused or engaged in schoolwork. No matter the reason, getting your child a tutor when he needs it is crucial to keeping him from falling behind. Here are five key signs that your child might benefit from a tutor or other private instruction.

1. Your child's academic performance does not match his peers . If most of the kids in class are getting As and Bs and your child is getting a C or D, that’s a pretty sure sign that something is wrong. “When mastery isn't occurring, it will stand out in your child's grades,” says Kimberly Kulp, director of product development for Bridgeway Academy. Maybe it’s because the subject matter is too complex or is being taught in a way your child doesn’t understand. Having a tutor is a way to approach the topic in another way, to avoid frustration and enable learning.

2. Your teacher requests a parent-teacher conference. Teachers often try to resolve matters with kids through the classroom or one-on-one sessions with the child. If they call the parents, it means the situation has become more urgent and needs action. In general, a call from the teacher or a request for a meeting may indicate a problem academically that could be helped by having a private tutor, says Ellen Pober Rittberg, author of 35 Things Your Teen Won't Tell You, So I Will. Don’t get defensive. Instead, welcome the call or meeting and do what you can to find out what the problem is. Is he not turning in homework? Are his grades slipping? Getting to the core of the problem promptly and lining up help, like a tutor, is the best way to get your child back on track.

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3. Your child doesn’t want to go to school. “If your child dreads school, constantly claiming he doesn’t want to go, he could be struggling academically, especially if this is a new phenomenon,” says Kulp. It’s not uncommon for kids who are falling behind in classes to want to just give up. They may not be able to communicate why they don’t want to go to school, but looking at their grades and noticing any dips might be a indicator that outside instruction could be beneficial.

4. You notice behavior changes in your child. “Any time your child's personality or behavior changes, you need to promptly explore why,” says Rittberg. Maybe it’s because he’s moved from middle school to high school and there’s a lot more pressure on academics. Maybe he’s in the third grade, an important testing year, and he feels like he can’t keep up. When a child has a hard time keeping up academically, it sometimes manifests behaviorally, such as becoming the class clown. It’s important to talk to his teachers and see if a tutor or other private instruction is warranted.


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5. Your child has a bad teacher. As with any profession, there are those who stand out as phenomenal and those who, perhaps, are in the wrong line of work. There are bad teachers -- those who can’t connect with the kids, have a hard time explaining the subject, or have no passion or energy for the topic. If this is the case, and there is no chance of changing the teacher, getting a tutor can be a good way to keep your child from falling behind.

What were the signs that your child needed a tutor?

Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of Parenting.com, AOL Parent and BabyTalk.com. Follow her on Twitter @JudyKoutsky.

Image ©iStock.com/diane555

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